“Collective bathing has a sense of suspending the social order, no? Like wild animals at a common watering hole.”
—Nicolas Lobo, in conversation with Hunter Braithwaite, The Brooklyn Rail
A bottle of Nexcite, the long-discontinued energy drink that bills itself as “Dietary Supplement” and “ROMANTIC DRINK,” sits on my shelf. It’s purely decorative. Nicolas Lobo, the artist who gave it to me in 2014, has described its taste as “Windex.” (He used cases upon cases of them for an exhibition that year.) As I sip the drink in an act of gonzo preparation for my trip to Red Bull Studios New York, I notice it’s been expired for a decade or more. I detect notes of blackcurrant, maybe some phencyclidine.
My body heats up—waves of pleasure radiate out from my loins, which itself feels empty, as if chemically castrated—and I head to the branded two-story gallery space.They’re hosting BIO:DIP, an exhibition curated by Neville Wakefield. Lobo is on the floor you walk in on, and artist Hayden Dunham on the floor below. At the front desk I’m given a press release, which is printed on a large mylar heating blanket, like the aluminum-looking kind they use in space.
Lobo worked with a company called San Juan Pools to cast several soaking pools (they’re a bit bigger than Jacuzzis, but not full-size pools) and flipped them over so that they serve as biomorphic plinths, and atop the plinths, are sculptures of homemade soap. The casted pools are golden brown, while the sculptures are muted blue, red, and gold, a sort of surreal mirror to the Red Bull palette. The sculptures, which Lobo says are inspired by modernist shapes—some sort of look like biscotti, and all resemble primordial shapes straight outta the id. The windows of the space looking onto Chelsea are smeared garishly with red lipstick, and smell rubbery if you get real close.
(Published in Art F City, March 22, 2016)